Trump to Halt Arms Sales to Anti-ISIS Kurds in Major Victory for Turkey
The Trump administration will halt arms supplies to anti-Islamic State Kurdish militias in Syria, ending a long-held dispute with the Republic of Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed the news Friday after a phone call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Mr. Trump clearly stated that he had given clear instructions, and that the YPG won’t be given arms,” Cavusoglu declared.
The White House acknowledged the policy change in less bellicose terms Friday evening, saying “consistent with our previous policy, President Trump also informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return.”
Turkey long sought an end to direct U.S. arms towards the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-organized group largely composed of Kurdish militias. The SDF was the main militant force that battled ISIS in Syria where the terrorist group is now locked into a desert pocket.
Turkey, however, regards many of the Kurdish groups as terrorist organizations equally threatening to its borders as ISIS. The removal of tension between the U.S. and Turkey is likely part of a larger diplomatic effort to bring a lasting ceasefire and end to the Syrian Civil War.
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